London: Coconut oil is a natural antibiotic that attacks the bacteria causing tooth decay. It could be incorporated into commercial dental care products, say scientists.
Researchers from the Athlone Institute of Technology, Ireland, tested the antibacterial action of coconut oil in its natural state and coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion.
They found that enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibited the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria which commonly inhabit the mouth, including Streptococcus mutans - an acid - producing bug that is a major cause of tooth decay.
Damien Brady who is leading the research at Athlone, said: "Dental carries is a commonly overlooked health problem affecting 60-90 percent of children and the majority of adults in industrialised countries."
Additional testing by the Athlone Institute found that enzyme-modified coconut oil was also harmful to the yeast Candida albicans that can cause thrush.
Researchers suggest that enzyme-modified coconut oil has potential as a marketable antimicrobial which could be of particular interest to the oral health care industry, according to an Athlone statement.
"Incorporating enzyme-modified coconut oil into dental hygiene products would be an attractive alternative to chemical additives, particularly as it works at relatively low concentrations. Also, with increasing antibiotic resistance, it is important that we turn our attention to new ways to combat microbial infection," added Brady.
These findings were presented at the Society for General Microbiology`s Autumn Conference at the University of Warwick, UK.
Saudi Arabia targets its illegal private clinics
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has launched a crackdown on illegal private medical practices.
Saudi Arabian authorities Sunday announced to have started the crackdown, with the latest closure being of a medical complex, existing with one physician only, Xinhua reported.
The closedown took place after an inspection by officials related to the Health Affairs in Jeddah city. It was found that the doctor was offering his services for a number of clinics in the complex with the assistance of unlicensed woman doctor and three nurses.
Director of health affairs, Sami bin Mohammed Badawood, said in a statement Sunday that the complex would be closed temporary.
He warned of zero tolerance towards violators who put citizens` health at risk and urged all to stick to medical regulations to avoid punishments.
The Health Ministry has vowed to continue nationwide inspection campaigns to take action against any violator and protect the medical rights of patients.